The New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve is 1.1 million acres of undisturbed land in this nation’s most densely populated state and is habitat to thousands of species of plants and animals. Since 1978, it has been administered by the Pinelands Commission, a group of 15 commissioners, seven appointed by the governor, one by each of the seven counties in which the reserve exists, and one by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Given our Governor’s disdain for the environment, it’s no surprise that one of the controversies surrounding the Pinelands is the proposal to run natural gas pipelines through the area, a big risk to the water table and critters that will be impacted. Christie has systematically placed pro-pipeline commissioners on the board, aided and abetted by GOP-controlled counties in the area.
I attended my first commission meeting on Friday, and there was only one person who bothered to speak against the pipeline, Lena Smith of Food and Water Watch. Her statement and a brief interview, along with some other thoughts, are below the fold.